Here we are in a war on terrorism and we need to take a serious look at our tactics if we intend to win it. As in any conflict it is essential to determine what resources your enemy relies on. In conflicts with another country this typically means destroying their military, blocking their supply lines and taking territory. But, when fighting terrorists, they may not have territory to take, their “military” are individuals in the populace so destroying them will be difficult, and denying them funds may slow them down, however the tactics they can use aren’t necessarily expensive. . So how do we adjust our tactics to win this war? Well the terrorists do have an important resource, the zealots that are willing to give their lives to hurt the US. This supply of zealots requires a group of people that are desperate and hate the US. In the end this combination of hatred and desperation is a resource we need to control.
Now hatred has always existed and it is not realistic to end it but we can certainly mitigate how much is directed at the US and to help lower the amount of desperation. Basically we need to be a good neighbor to the people of the world. Given our standing as the worlds only superpower and the incarnation of wealth in the world, it is easy for people that feel repressed, hungry or hopeless to blame the US. This is an unfortunate reality, and a dangerous one. The first step to deal with is to aggressively try to eliminate hunger in the world. This is something well within our grasp if we put the same amount of energy that we put into eradicating small pox, or a similar amount of money as our war in Afghanistan. As we do so we need to make certain the infrastructure (i.e. the free market) for food production is also built. This is more challenging but a necessary second step (this will likely include wean our farming industry off of subsidies).
As we fight hunger we will need to look at some of the more difficult challenges, promoting personal freedom, sustainable development and education. But as the people of the world see the US as striving for them it will be a lot harder for them to hate us. And as they have more to lose even of they do hate us, they aren’t going to strike in such a self-destructive fashion. Now I know there will be people out there that will say this is impractical and expensive, but we knew this war would be costly and difficult. We cannot afford to wimp out and fail to use the most effective tactics. Here we are one year into this war, we must adjust our tactics to recognize the uniqueness of this enemy, that is if we want to have a victory in our lifetime.
A Madman has spoken…